Southern Co-op is rolling out a new compostable carrier bag across its retail stores in the south of England.

The full size shopping bag, made out of corn starch, will replace the smaller compostable bags previously offered in 44 of Southern Co-op’s retail stores.

The environmentally-friendly bags, priced 5p, are also designed to be used as a food waste caddy liner and will be initially offered in 75 stores where the local authority collects household food waste, in order to prevent the bags being sent to landfill.

Gemma Lacey, director of sustainability and communications at Southern Co-op, said: “Ultimately we want to encourage our customers to reuse bags they already own and move away from single-use shoppers altogether but we are a convenience store so understand this is not always practical.

“We hope this new bag will prevent more plastic from ending up in landfill – this echoes our existing efforts to prevent waste and use resources more wisely.”

The bags are approved for home composting, and the regional co-operative said it will conduct trials in other stores to see if there is a demand for the bag.